When I was a little girl, my dream job was to be a makeup artist. (If you want to know the truth, I’m still a little jealous of the ones I meet now!) So I was very excited at the opportunity to talk to Rea Ann Silva, a veteran Hollywood makeup artist whose clients have included Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Garner, Alicia Silverstone and Kerry Washington. She’s also one of the creators of the Beautyblender, a revolutionary elliptical-shaped sponge that makes applying makeup a breeze. (Trust me, ladies, I’ve tried it and it’s completely changed the way I put on foundation!) For a peek into Rea Ann’s world and an inside look at her favorite products, check out our interview.
TDO: Did you always want to be a makeup artist? How did you get started in the business?
Rea Ann Silva: No, I wanted to be a fashion designer. While attending FIDM in L.A., I got a part time job in the department store next to the school as a perfume model. I quickly realized that the girls behind the makeup counter were having a lot more fun interacting with willing customers…and painting faces!
TDO: What is your beauty philosophy?
RAS: That there is beauty on every face! A woman’s makeup should result in the exposure of her inner beauty and how she wants to portray herself to the world. My job is to enhance the features that make her confident and play down what makes her feel insecure. This helps to allow her to be who she really is on the inside.
TDO: How did you get the idea to create the Beautyblender?
RAS: It happened when I was in a department heading a show called “Girlfriends.” We needed to find a way to maintain airbrush makeup throughout the long shooting day, so I started experimenting with edgeless sponge shapes that “special effects” makeup artists use. We discovered that the teardrop shape was perfect for mimicking airbrush application and perfect for touching up. It had been somewhat hypocritical to be hand applying touch up makeup to an airbrush application! As the idea developed in my head, it occurred to me that this new sponge could be a great product for my peers. Then it continued to evolve into providing a new tool to the average woman that struggles to get her makeup application to look like the looks she sees in magazines…. Then it evolved further into creating Blendercleanser to clean your sponge, ultimately making it healthier for the environment. The rest is history! We now have an expansive network of retail partners and even international distribution.
TDO: What makes the Beautyblender different from other makeup sponges?
RAS: The look, the shape, the hydrophilic material that it is made from, the color, the cleanser (the world’s first sponge cleanser that extends the life of your sponge), the environmental message, and of course, the flawless result you get without a learning curve!
TDO: You constantly get to test out new products. What are the ones that you’re currently obsessed with?
RAS: I am really loving the CARGO blu_ray High Definition Mattifier. It’s amazing for every day and amazing for any on camera work.
TDO: What are some makeup trends that we’ll see this coming season?
RAS: Besides the new sheer, vibrant colored mascaras, eye pencils and lid colors that are suddenly new again, I see everything being designed with the environment in mind. Everything is coined “Healthy” or “Eco-Friendly,” which is a big deal. Previously, the cosmetic industry was a bit resistant to this concept. Also, peach lips in bold or sheer coverage, as well as sheer metallics on the eyes and cheeks.
TDO: What is the one makeup item that every woman should wear, even if she’s just out running errands?
RAS: There are actually two must do items! Lip gloss and a curled eyelash to make you look awake and fresh.
TDO: What do you think is the most underrated product that you’ve tried and would like to spread the word about?
RAS: Aquaphor is an indispensable product. You can use it on lips, eyes, eyebrows, cheeks, knees, etc. Itâ€™s really great for everything. Itâ€™s also an inexpensive alternative to Elizabeth Ardenâ€™s Eight Hour Cream.
TDO: What is your favorite look to create on a client?
RAS: The “you” but better look!
TDO: Who is your favorite person to work with? (Celebrity, editor, etc…)
RAS: Kithe Brewster. He is a visionary stylist, designer, fashion editor and artistic director for various European and American magazines and advertising campaigns. We first worked together with director Brett Ratner and went on to create memorable images for musical artists and actors. Heâ€™s a genius! We continue to work together today on various projects, the most recent being the new talent from Pharrell Williams’ music company, Teyana Taylor. (“Google me, Baby”)
TDO: We all have funny/crazy stories about something that’s happened to us at work. What’s one of your best?
RAS: One of the most nerveracking stories that comes to mind is the time that I was booked to do a six page fashion spread for a European fashion magazine. Our location was out in the middle of the California desert and the story was called “Road Kill.” The remote location was chosen so that the background would look desolate and so we could shoot the models laying on the side of the road (avoiding any traffic). When I arrived at the location, I jumped out of my car and shut the door behind me, only to realize that I had just locked the keys inside my car before I had a chance to unload any of my makeup! I called the Automobile Club immediately, tried to give them the location (I could only give them a general idea – they even sent helicopters to find us…no luck!) I was forced to use dirt, some little bits of nature, and whatever the camera assistant had in her purse to create the looks. Needless to say, I was freaking. I didn’t want them to break the window of my SUV because editorial work pays very little and the cost of replacing any of the damage would far exceed what I would be making. The Auto Club finally showed up after the shoot had ended and the sun was almost gone. To my surprise, the photographer was actually okay with what he got, so it was a happy ending after all.
TDO: Do you have any advice for aspiring makeup artists just starting out?
RAS: Be nice! And realize that we are in a business that doesn’t require a college degree, so the person you gave attitude to one day can be responsible for booking you another day!
Thanks for answering our questions, Rea Ann! If you’d like more information about the Beautyblender, please visit www.beautyblender.net or call (818) 774-2223.